My Music Biography

I started playing the violin at age 11 in the grade school orchestra. I fell in love immediately. I didn't actually get my own violin until close to the end of the year because my mother did not believe I really wanted to play. I would attend the strings class everyday and learn just by watching. Sometimes my friends would let me try their instruments. It wasn't until the last orchestra concert and my teacher said if I wanted to play I needed a violin. I told my mom I still needed it. She was shocked I was still going to the strings class. Obviously she did not understand my instant love of the violin. I was the youngest of 4 and all my siblings had played various instruments, usally giving them up after a few months. My mother did not want the expense of yet another dusty, un-used instrument stored in the garage.

We went out immediately and got a violin. The violin store had one left. Luckly it was a decent one. I took it home and that night started to play all the songs I had learned by watching and listening during orchestra class. My mom was impressed.

As it turned out, I had a good ear, not only for intonation, but for learning songs just by listening. I eventually learned many songs that our orchestra teacher would hear me playing and she would arrange it for the orchestra.

I started taking private lessons after the school year was out. I had a great teacher, Laurie Cassella in West Linn Oregon. She is a former member of the Portland Opera. I stayed with Laurie for about 6 years. She was always encouraging. I pushed my way through the Suzuki books as fast as I could go. She was constantly trying to keep me at a slower pace so I would learn techniques thoroughly. I was often several songs ahead of her though.

As high school approached, I felt burdened because many of the kids my age were playing a lot harder pieces (most of them started much earlier, like 6 or 7). I tried to play the difficult stuff, and sometimes pulled it off. My teacher had to put her foot down many times because I wanted to play hard stuff and she knew I wasn't ready. However, I always placed well at the solo contests, went to the State Solo contest every year, and had many other awards, scholarships, and orchestra experiences that my peers had as well. I traveled to Japan with the International Art Camp. I met many other students with a love of the arts. I also got to perform my violin several times for the camp.

I was a member of the Portland Youth Philharmonic. I was accepted in 8th grade and stayed until after my first year of college. That orchestra taught me many things about respect, discipline, and how to watch the conductor. The orchestra had a reputation for being very strict, and they aren't kidding. You can't even miss a rehearsal for Prom! I had the opportunity to travel to Germany with the orchestra. We played at many of the great concert halls. I had a small taste of life in Germany.

I received a scholarship to Mt. Hood Community College for two years. I knew the strings director, Larry Zgonc, from past solo competitions. He actually had approached me years earlier about attending the college. He said if I played there for two years, he would give me a scholarship. And he would get me into any university I wanted with a full-ride scholarship. He did that too.

While at Mt. Hood, I switched to Raphael Spiro for my teacher. He was a master teacher who only accepted advanced students. He never sugar-coated things, and he was certainly my toughest teacher. I didn't appreciate what he did for me at the time, but I look back and realize that he gave me lots of technique that I didn't have. I never really played any substantial pieces with him. It was all etudes and scales and other exercises. I grumbled about it then. Now I am glad he did that.

I decided I wanted to attend the Univ. of Arizona in Tucson. I stayed there through the end of my Bachelor's. I decided that 4 years was not enough. I applied for the graduate program and also got a full-ride for that.

I had a wonderful violin professor, Mark Rush who has lots of accolades for him as well as his students. I knew I would like Mark right away. He was very uplifting as a teacher. I also liked hearing his recitals. He seemed to be able to play anything. He was well-regarded in the Tucson community. To read more about Mark Rush, or purchase his new book, Playing the Violin: An Illustrative Guide, click here.

I received my Master's Degree on a full ride scholarship in 2002 from the Univ. of Arizona.

I teach private violin lessons. You can contact me about private violin lessons, or read more about my teaching style. I teach in Portland Oregon , on the West side in Tigard and on the East side in Clackamas. I travel when needed.

I am also the event coordinator for my string quartet, the Arcadia String Quartet. To read more about my the Arcadia String Quartet, click here.

I am currently also a member of the Portland Columbia Symphony. If you would like to learn more about our concerts, or purchase tickets, click here.

My Other Life

Yes, I have a double life, although it is not too interesting. I am the mother of four beautiful and charming children; Tygre 8, Spring 6, Summer 3, and Hunter 2. I am lucky to stay home with them. However, I also do all the office work for my husband Mark who is a master window coverings installer. And we recently bought a window covering sales business. Now I do those sales appointments and run the office for that business, too. So I am a little busy with our two businesses, our 4 kids, and my full teaching schedule. There you have it!